Friday 30 June 2017
BRAPA - June Review / July Preview (2017)
TWENTY new pubs visited in the month of June represented quite a disappointing return, and if you don't count last October's "Aussie Adventure / Best Man" month, you have to go all the way back to February 2015 to find a month when I did worse!
Still, three pre-emptives may help me out in the long term, two of them especially (the Hops & Cheese in Hartlepool and the Draft House in Milton Keynes) are surely bound to get in, if not 2018, then 2019 edition of the GBG.
It actually felt like a much better month, with some great trips out. North Bucks was a highlight, as was a Dad day in North Derbyshire. Trips to Newcastle and Hartlepool were also superb days. And probably most significantly, the re-introduction of "Tuesday Night BRAPA" with the shattering revelation that hardly anything in Greater Manchester is off limits after work.
Hard to pick three stand-out pub experiences to go into the final reckoning as the quality was generally very good but here goes:
1. Beer Parlour, Whittington Moor
2. Stratton Arms, Turweston
3. Split Chimp, Newcastle
July, like June, is historically good month with an average of 30 new pub ticks.
But unlike this June, I have time off work to go and treat the UK as my pubby playground, and am very confident I'll exceed 30. I'm on 1158 as I write this, I'd love to be pushing the 1200 by the end of July.
We start tomorrow, back in Cheshire with Tom and Dad (and possibly Tom's Dad) for 'fixture day'. This is where we all take a copy of Hull City's fixture list and work out between us which away games we like the look of (e.g. Burton Albion) and which was are quite happy to knock on the head (e.g. L**ds).
I then have a bit of time off work, this is my time to shine with the BRAPA Summer Festival. I'll be heading to a county where I have a sum total of ZERO pub ticks!! I may even be able to sneak in a cheeky Tuesday Greater Manchester trip before.
If my liver is still ok by the following week (commencing 10th), I might get a bonus midweek trip, and am suggesting a Dad Day the following Saturday, though nothing is set in stone yet.
Sat 22nd sees me back in Bucks for perhaps the final time before the 2018 GBG comes out, I have only 8 pubs left in that county (it will increase!) but they are getting a bit spaced out so it might be that I only do 2 and the rest are in Herts or London.
And Sat 29th should by all accounts, give me the freedom to either get back to Cheshire or see whether my chauffeur is up for some Durham/Derbys fun. I'd like to think Hull City will do something BRAPA friendly for pre-season, but when you notice we're playing legendary European clubs like Oxford Utd and Bristol Rovers on the Algarve, you can see what I'm up against!
I'll also try and keep up with Tuesday night after work trips to random places dotted around the Manchester area.
So, am feeling optimistic for the month ahead. As we posh punks say, "I'll see you jolly fellows in the pit!"